Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I didn't really like the vasilopita (That's Greek for Basil's bread) I made on last St. Basil the Great's day (Also known as the 8th day of Christmas/Feast of the Circumcision of Christ). In a month I'll be making this recipe given to me by Matuskha Angela Alesandroni. It looks really good.

1/2 c water
3/5 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. aniseeds
3/4 tsp fresh grate orange peel... See More
2 bay leaves
1/2 c milk
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp. salr
3/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c warm water (110 degrees)
2 T sugar
2pkgs. yeast
3 eggs. lightly beaten
sesame seeds
whole blanched almonds, walnut halves and/or maraschinos for top

Heat 1/2 c water to boiling. Add cinnamon, aniseeds, orange peel and bay leaves. Remove from heat and steep.

Scald milk. Add 3/4 c sugar, the salt, and 3/4 c butter. Cool.
Pour warm water into bowl. Stir in 2T sugar and years. Let stand until frothy ( perhaps 10 mins)

Pour milk/butter mixture into yeast mixture. Add lightly beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in spice liquid, removing bay leaves. stir in 3 c flour, alittle at a time and beat until smooth. Add only as much flour as needed to make a smooth, nonsticky dough.

Turn onto floured board and knead 15-20 mins until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, brush top with melted butter. Cover lightly and allow to rise in a draft free, but warm place until doubled - perhaps 2 hours.

Punch down, knead again briefly about 5 mins. Remove an orange sized piece from dough and form rest into one large round loaf. Insert coin. Place loaf on a lightly greased sheet or silpat covered baking sheet.

Divide reserved dough and form into numbers of the new year or a cross. set on bread pressing gently.

cover lightly and let bread rise again for about 1 1/2 hrs. or until almost doubled in bulk.

When risen.brush loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle w/sesame seeds. Decorate with almonds, walnuts or cherries, if you like. Bake at 350 for 45-60 mins. done when golden bronw and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

For a more pronounced anise flavor, add 1 T ouzo when you add the spice liquid to the dough.


Tom said...

What? No masticha? Thats what makes it Vasilopita. It also preserves the bread. I swear that last one I bought sat on the counter for months and never molded.

GretchenJoanna said...

I am so happy to have the recipe well in advance of the date, so I can plan to bake it--sounds wonderful! And it's the first I've heard of this bread. Thank you.